Saturday, January 21, 2012

VIDEO: Highlights from the Kings 3-1 loss to Avalanche

Earlier tonight, the Kings lost to the Avalanche for the third time this season. Colorado had goals from Cody McLeod, Peter Mueller and Gabriel Landeskog. Contrary to Jack Johnson's pre-game prediction, it was Anze Kopitar who scored first for the Kings (and it was also the only time they were able to sneak one past JS Giguere). Jonathan Quick entered the season 7-0-1 vs the Avs in his career, yet he's been in net for all three losses. Here are the game highlights...

The Mayor

LA's Jack Johnson on the 'creative and unpredictable' Avs

Earlier today we posted comments from coach Darryl Sutter, who pointed out the Kings have out shot the Avs by a wide margin this season, but have lost both games. Tonight marks game three of the four-game season series.

In sharp contrast to Brad Richardson - who seems to love playing against his former team - Jack Johnson has only recorded points in one home game vs Colorado in his career (two assists on February 13, 2010).

Prior to tonight's contest I asked him if the speed of the Avs was their number one asset?

"I don't know if that really pops in my head. They're a team that for some reason, they've been a tough team for us this year. I think they have some talented young forwards, for sure. I think that's the strength of their team - their young forwards up front. They're creative and unpredictable, that makes for some dangerous moments in a hockey game.

Now, a few weeks ago Dustin Brown correctly picked Drew Doughty to score the first goal of the game vs. Phoenix. Who does Johnson think will light the lamp first tonight for LA?

"I'll go with Justin Williams, he's been hot lately."

If you want to get in on the MayorsManor First Goal Contest, be sure to leave a comment below or post something on the official facebook/twitter links that will go up about 30 minutes before game time. One random winner from all entries received tonight will win a free pair of tickets to Monday's game vs. the Senators.

In the meantime, to read more about Brad Richardson - the human avalanche - click here.

The Mayor

Sutter's 3-word summation of the Avs - 'They're still great'

As the Kings and Avalanche enter tonight, both teams have played 48 games. The somewhat surprising statistic is that Colorado has actually won more of them, 25 to LA's 23. Most people were expecting the Kings to contend for the Pacific Division crown this year, while Avs coach Joe Sacco was rumored to be on the hot seat just last month.

Both teams are taking an average of 31 shots per game. Yet, like just about every team in the league, they're scoring more goals than the Kings, 124 to 106.

Colorado visited LA earlier this month, and - surprise - the game was tied after three periods. In fact, nine of the 15 games played since Darryl Sutter took over behind the bench have needed more than 60 minutes.

"We've played them twice (this season)," said Sutter. "Once when I wasn't here, we lost up there 3-2. Then, we lost here in the shootout. If you break it down...shots for and against, well, we've out shot them 2-1 and haven't beat them yet. So, it's about finishing opportunities. You have to handle their skill. They're still a great - it goes back to Sakic and Forsberg, it's still in their system, the triangle and the way they play in the offensive zone. This group carries that on for them. Those kids are quick. You have to be able to defend really well against them or they're going to...they're a quick team."

Goalie Jonathan Quick has been in net for both losses to the Avalanche this season, a rather odd stat considering he entered the year with a 7-0-0 record and two shutouts against them.

On the positive side, LA is 4-0-2 at home against Colorado since October 2008. So, tonight gives them a chance to pick up at least a point in seven straight against them at Staples Center.

One definite change from the other two contests this season will be the addition of Peter Mueller (a teammate of Jack Johnson's back at the US National Development Program) to the Avs line-up. He recently returned after missing all of the 2010-11 season and the first 40 games this year.

Full rosters and line combinations for both teams will be posted later today.

The Mayor

Trevor Lewis hopes they can 'find the back of the net soon'

Trevor Lewis (photo: D. Sheehan)
Trevor Lewis has played in all 15 games since coach Darryl Sutter took over on December 22 against the Ducks. That's a bit of contrast from the 15 games prior, where then-coach Terry Murray only put him in the line-up for six and scratched him for the other nine games.

The former first round draft pick has been playing primarily with Brad Richardson and Andrei Loktionov, and after practice yesterday Sutter said it was Lewis who was 'carrying the line' of late. Rather high praise for a guy who's only scored one goal this season.

Yet, it's more than just his offensive production that Sutter is looking at to evaluate Lewis' all around game. One recent positive was his career-high six hits vs the Flames on Thursday.

"I was trying to get in on the forecheck," said Lewis. "I think that's kind of the key to our line - to turn pucks over and grind 'em down low. I was first most of the time (on Thursday), so I had more hits."

On any improvement in his overall game over the last five games or so, Lewis was quick to point to his teammates.

"I think it's a credit to my line. We're playing well. As you play well, I think your confidence goes a little higher and you start to carry the puck a little bit more and make more plays. I just need to keep going and hopefully our line can find the back of the net pretty soon."

Does part of that confidence come from playing with the same two guys on a regular basis?

"Definitely. You're playing with them all the time and in practice. I think we've been together for...well, I don't even know how many games now. But, it's nice to know where they're going to be and what their tendencies are."

Sutter may have summed it up best though. After praising the line for 'doing a lot of good things and working hard,' he cut right to the chase - "Our third line has got to start scoring some goals for us. You do the math. How many goals does the third line have?"

Well, in the six games they've been together, that would be one.

The Mayor

Penner claiming 'pancake power' and other notes from trip

Dustin Penner and pancakegate is turning into one of the longest running story lines of the season. Of course, everybody knows about the open letter he wrote here on MayorsManor (if you don't, where have you been?). And as the Kings made their way through Western Canada on their most recent road trip, it was a hot topic among fans, the media...and even among the home teams.

While he says he didn't hear the crowd chanting 'panckaes' at him every time he was on the ice in Edmonton, he did come home with a pre-game gift.

There was a report about an hour before the game that night that Penner was seen leaving the Oilers dressing room with a bottle of maple syrup - something thought to be a gift from one of his old teammates. However, Penner set the record straight for us...

"It was from Joey Moss (longtime Oilers dressing room attendant). He's very thoughtful. I did a lot for him when I was there and I think it was just his way of trying to repay what I did for him."

We've also received many tweets lately, with people wanting to know if he's had any more pancakes since the 'incident' a few weeks ago.

"Yes, I had pancakes the day we played the Canucks," Penner said. "And then I had eight hits that night. So...I think it was pancake power."

Well, those eight hits were a career high.  So, yes, pancake power!

By the way, if you missed the post a few days ago - expect a major announcement early next week with all the details on the Pancakes with Penner event. Final logistics are being assembled and then the date, time and ticket information will all be revealed shortly. All of the money raised is expected to be donated to the Kings Care Foundation.

The Mayor

Friday, January 20, 2012

LA Kings coach Sutter opens up on his plans for Bernier

Bernier at practice (photo: David Sheehan)
Goalie Jonathan Bernier has started just eight of the Kings' 48 games last year. However, it's not his 3-4-1 record that is holding him back from getting more playing time - it's starter Jonathan Quick, who is posting such incredible numbers that he's starting to generate discussions about being a possible Vezina Trophy candidate.

So, what does all this mean for Bernier? After all, by this time last year, Bernier had already made 13 starts.

After practice today, coach Darryl Sutter was asked if there's been any message to Bernier, in terms of staying prepared?

"That's his job," said Sutter. "We have one season that's done on Monday or Tuesday (referring to the upcoming break in the NHL schedule for the All Star Game). Then, another one starts a week after that. That's the only way I look at it. I'm not about anything other than getting the max out of everybody. If the players have to stay ready and sharp in practice, that's going to be there problem, not mine. He's been fine though, he's been awesome. What more do you want? Obviously he probably wants to play more. But, it's about winning games right now. We're in a playoff battle. When he goes in, he better look at like it's game seven."

Do you have a rough plan for the goalie rotation?

"I think everybody that has an ace does that or tries to. But, very seldom does that hold. Especially in a year where our team gets a seven day break. So, that's what you have to try and manage. Quite honestly, we have 32 games left after the break and we have six back to backs and a lot of road games. So, you have to think that he's going to play more than he did in the first 50 (games)."

Last year, Bernier had a 5-8 record at this point and in five of those games he gave up four or more goals. In a previous interview, Bernier told us that it took him the first half of the season to feel comfortable in Los Angeles (interview here). One would have to agree with his assessment too, considering he posted a 6-0-3 record after the All Star break, including three shutouts.

Can he do it again?

The Mayor

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flames at Kings pregame tidbits - plus ticket contest

A few pregame notes on tonight's Kings-Flames match-up at The Stapler...

- LA has beaten Calgary three straight games at home, all by the final score of 2-1.

- Curtis Glencross, the Flames leading goal scorer (with 18) was sent back to Calgary after suffering a lower body injury in San Jose on Tuesday.

- The Flames are expected to have four former Kings in the line-up tonight (and it could have been five if Raitis Ivanans wasn't sent back to the minors a few weeks ago). Their projected line combos are:

Mike Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Jarome Iginla
Blake Comeau - Olli Jokinen - Tim Jackman
Tom Kostopolous - Blair Jones - Lee Stempniak
Lance Bouma - Roman Horak - Matt Stajan

Note: The Flames played with a extra defenseman vs the Sharks. If they do that again tonight, Horak will likely be scratched in favor of Anton Babchuk.

- Miikka Kiprusoff will start for the Flames and the Kings will counter with Jonathan Quick in net.  Kipper is 17-8-3 lifetime vs. LA, with a 2.17 goals-against average.  However, at Staples Center he's only 6-5-2.  Quick is 5-3-0 vs the Flames overall, with a stellar 1.84 GAA.

- Coach Darryl Sutter is not expected to make any line-up changes tonight, so expect to see the following line combos:

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jarret Stoll
Brad Richardson - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Trent Hunter

Finally, we'll be giving away a free pair of tickets in tonight's MayorsManor First Goal contest. It's easy to play, simply leave a comment below with the LA player you think will score first vs. the Flames...or reply to the facebook / twitter updates that will come out around 6:30pm. All correct answers will be pooled together and one random winner will get a pair of tickets to see the Kings and Avalanche on Saturday night. Good luck!

The Mayor

LA Kings prospect Nick Deslauriers starting to find his way

Nick Deslauriers (photo: Scott Slingsby)
About 400 miles down the Atlantic coast, gym-tan-laundry is all the rage. Yet, for Kings prospect Nick Deslauriers, it's more about training, eating and shopping when he's not at the rink.

Earlier this week, we spoke by phone and talked about his adjustment to the AHL, as well as his first professional goal - scored last Sunday in front of the hometown Manchester crowd.

"It was a power play," Deslauriers began, when asked to describe the play. "I was with Thomas Hickey, who sets me up all the time. I've had a lot of chances that just haven't gone in. But that time, I took a one-timer and it finally went through."

While he wasn't surprised the puck made it past the goalie - as "Dwight King did a perfect job of screening him" - he was a bit perplexed that it's taken so long. "I think luck finally came to me and it was about time that something happened, with all the shots I've been taking. I've been posting around four to six shots nearly every game."

Drafted by the Kings out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2009, Deslauriers has leaned heavily on Monarchs captain - and fellow Frenchman - Marc-Andre Cliche as he settles in to this chapter of his hockey career.

"We talk a lot," he explained. "We try to talk in English in front of everybody. But, it's kind of weird - two French guys talking English. So, it's fun having one French guy here, just to talk with. If I have some problems that I can't communicate in English, I just go to him and he helps me. Having a little French time together is pretty awesome."

But, it was the support of the entire D-core that worked to keep his confidence high earlier in the season when he wasn't getting much playing time, largely due to the Monarchs having so many defenseman on the roster.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

GM Dean Lombardi compares rebuilds by Oilers and Kings

Several teams around the NHL have gone through painful rebuilds over the last decade, with a few already cashing in and finding success. Pittsburgh is typically the franchise most point to for how to 'get it right.' More recently, the Blackhawks have been receiving praise, having won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Entering the season, many considered the Los Angeles Kings to be on the threshold of achieving similar success. And the team right behind them in the process is the Edmonton Oilers. While LA has largely been built on goaltending and defense, the Oil's clear strength is the abundance of top flight forwards they've drafted recently.

Late last week, Kings GM Dean Lombardi was a guest on Mark Spector's radio show (Team 1260, Edmonton). We've already posted several of Lombardi's comments in previous articles. Here, he tackles the rebuilding process for both the Kings and Oilers...

On the notion LA is just a key free agent away - "The most critical thing - and I told Darryl (Sutter) this when he took over the team - of all the things we can do, we have to make our young players, in fact, top players. Not only top players in the sense of notoriety or contract, but they have to become, in fact, core players (who) can match up with Datsyuk and Lidstrom, Thornton and Boyle and all these guys. That is the number one thing that has to happen. If we don't do that - if these players don't, in fact, become 'winners,' then anything else I do in free agency or trades, it's just going to be conversation because it's not going to happen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

VIDEO: Dustin Penner interviews his LA Kings teammates

Pennermania continues... Fresh off his recent run of all things pancakes - including his open letter to the fans and media - Dustin Penner is back in a fantastic video put together by the guys at Kings Vision. He interviews his LA Kings teammates on a variety of topics, with references to Tebowing, goaltending, signing autographs, hair loss, cologne and much more.

Linked below are several related articles for your reference. Be sure to check out a few of the gems we've provided, featuring notes and quotes from or about GM Dean Lombardi, .Corey Perry, Matt Greene and others.

The Mayor


Kings GM Dean Lombardi on Dustin Penner and PancakeGate

Lombardi apologizes to the Edmonton Oilers and the NHL over Ryan Smyth trade problems

Pennercakes featured on this week's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast

Dustin Brown adds a new name to the Dustin Penner vs Matt Greene feud

The good, the bad and the something with Matt Greene

Dustin Penner says Corey Perry was 'milking it' and talks Hockey Gods

order here --> MayorsManor Store

Sunday, January 15, 2012

VIDEO: Inside the Kings locker room after 2-1 loss in EDM

Here's some video from inside the Kings locker room after their 2-1 overtime loss to the Oilers in Edmonton tonight. As you'll see, a shirtless Drew Doughty called the team 'brutal' for the first two periods, Rob Scuderi said there was a 'lack of preparation' to start the game (a common theme the last few games) and Darryl Sutter even chimed in with a few thoughts as well. Take a look...

Last night's post game comments from Sutter included the epic 'park and ride' blast when talking about the emotional win in Calgary (full comments here). Sadly, two of his better quotes tonight didn't make the video.

On the Kings leaving Edmonton with one point instead of two, the coach offered a new Sutterism - 'We didn’t lose' (...adding, "We got three out of four. That’s for you guys [reporters] to be negative about, not me."). Later, when talking about this game vs. the Kings 3-0 loss earlier in the season to the Oilers, Sutter broke loose again, with - "I didn’t see the last time (the Kings) played Edmonton...I didn’t have tickets for that (last) game. Didn’t see it."

The Mayor 

The good, the bad and the something - with Matt Greene

The last few days have been a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly for the LA Kings. After a disappointing loss to the Stars on Thursday - a game the Kings were leading with less than six minutes to go in regulation - they bounced back with a big win in Calgary last night. The 'Dome hasn't been good to them in recent years, with only one win there in 11 prior games.

Just before leaving for Alberta, Kings coach Darryl Sutter asked - 'What is history?' Guess he was right.

Let's check in with defenseman Matt Greene...


Last night, Greene scored his third goal of the season and it stood up as the game winner. It also helped him set two new career highs at once. He's never scored more than two goals in a season before, nor had he posted more than one GWG over a full campaign.

VIDEO: MayorsManor, Penner and PancakeGate mentioned on Hockey Night in Canada

As mentioned the other day, the open letter Dustin Penner provided here on MayorsManor has been getting major press across North America.

Dustin Brown and Mike Richards both tweeted about it. Plus, the story has already been featured on sites like the Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald, Puck Daddy's Yahoo Sports blog, Canada's National Post newspaper, NESN (Boston area sports network), the Dallas Morning News, Grantland and many more.

Last night, during the Kings-Flames game, the story was also given a brief mention on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. Take a look...

Special thanks to Mullen Photography for providing the video.

Finally, for all of those asking about the raffle and breakfast, we'll be working on the details after the Kings' current road trip. Stay tuned.

The Mayor


Kings GM Dean Lombardi on Dustin Penner and PancakeGate

Lombardi apologizes to the Edmonton Oilers and the NHL over Ryan Smyth trade problems

Dustin Brown adds a new name to the Dustin Penner vs Matt Greene feud